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Millions filling out brackets in anticipation of NCAA Tournament


March Madness is here once again, and with UNC and Duke at the top, people are scrambling to fill out their brackets.

Some choose to participate in small pools within their office while others enter enormous pools online. You don’t have to be a sports fanatic to join in the NCAA basketball fun.

Sports betting pools are nothing new, especially the bracket betting here in North Carolina during basketball playoffs. But this year many are going after the winning pot of cash, by filling out brackets online.

Sportsbook.com has a $12 million pot for the perfect bracket winner to take home. Espn.com offers a $5,000 prize for the top 30 brackets. Yahoo is running a similar competition with $1 million grand prize.

You can always find a tourney to join on Facebook. The social-networking site has more than five hundred groups dedicated to the tournament.

Some are searching the net for tips on how best to fill out their bracket. ESPN’s fantasy basketball, for example, gives advice on how many upsets you should pick and the worst kept secret of the tourney.

ESPN also has what’s called the bracket optimizer. It predicts all the possible ways your competition might fill out their brackets and highlights the favorable picks.

CBS is featuring the “bracket manager” for free. Once you sign up your team, it automatically updates points and standings. You can talk trash to your friends on the message board and watch the games live on the site.

Tip off for round one is this Thursday, so all of your choices have to made by then.

But the big question, besides who will win the championship, remains if all of this is legal?

A check of several websites this afternoon leads to more questions than answers. If it’s online, and it doesn’t cost anything, apparently it is legal.

But what about those office pools? According to legalzoom.com and North Carolina statutes, social gambling or office pools are illegal.

Enforcement is another question. One local attorney said as long as pools aren’t abusing the law, they will look the other way.

Tell us what you think by voting on our poll question… “Should office pools on sporting events be legal?”

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videoMarch Madness is here once again, and with UNC and Duke at the top, people are scrambling to fill out their brackets.

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Associated poll

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